Kaufman added: "The FDA has been evaluating the role of menthol in cigarettes since the passage of the Tobacco Control Act in 2009, and more recently increased its focus on flavors in e-cigs/menthol cigarettes as part of its Comprehensive Tobacco & Nicotine Regulatory plan announced a year ago".
Last year, BAT re-entered the U.S. market after a 12-year absence with the $47bn acquisition of Reynolds, owner of brands including Pall Mall, Newport and Camel, in a move that created the world's biggest tobacco company and was expected to speed up the development of e-cigarettes and vapes.
When BAT stepped up its presence in the U.S. previous year by acquiring the 58% of Reynolds it did not already own for $50bn, it listed its menthol cigarettes as a key attraction.
E-cigarettes and their liquid nicotine flavors would continue to be sold in dedicated vape stores, where the FDA believes age verification procedures are more reliable.
Menthol-flavoured cigarettes were first developed in the United States in the 1920s.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is expected to announce a ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations as early as next week.
The FDA is also proposing a ban on menthol cigarettes which, although it could take up to two years to be finalised and enforced, would be a major blow for BAT.
"The FDA are now said to considering banning them altogether". Traditional products make up most of its revenue.
"The FDA concluded in 2013 that menthols are harder to quit and likely pose a greater health risk than regular cigarettes". The proposal would also be delayed if large tobacco companies fight the FDA's authority to do restrict it.
A study published last week in the academic journal Tobacco Control found that 6 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds used the popular e-cigarette brand JUUL within the last 30 days, and 11 percent had used an e-cigarette in general.
Newport is BAT's largest menthol brand and accounts for about 40 percent of USA sales, according to Duncan Fox, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
BAT shares have lost almost 38 percent in value this year so far.
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